Register Report First Generation



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29. John Wesley LAIR. Born in 1799 in Harrison, Kentucky. John Wesley died in 1867; he was 68.
Notes on John Wesley Lair: [1]

John Wesley Lair, the seventh child of John and Sallie Custer Lair, married Catherine Smiser, the daughter of his first cousin. John Wesley's father, John Lair, was a brother of Andrew, the grandfather of Catherine Smiser. Her mother, Martha Lair, daughter of Andrew, had married George Smiser.


John Wesley Lair lived with his parents at "Boscobel" and continued to live there after his marriage to his cousin. Six children were born to this union:
John Andrew Lair married Lida Bickham. He became a surgeon of note and served in the Northern Army with distinction;

Helen Henry Lair married the Hon. A.H. Ward, famous lawyer who also served in the Reconstruction Congress;

Arabella Lair married John Burton Maude of St. Louis;

Mary Lair married Captain James M. Givens, Confederate officer;

Frances Hubbard Lair married Rev. A. B. Griffith of Ohio;

Lida Lair married Achilles Martin.



These children of John Wesley Lair and Catherine Smiser Lair lived in "Boscobel" until the close of the War Between the States and the death of their father, John Wesley Lair. Their childhood there as told me by my mother, Helen Lair Ward, was delightful. A small school for the many Lair children in the neighborhood was conducted on the Charles Lair farm and the little Lairs would be accompanied through the woods by one of the slave women, the school being a great treat. Their mother's parents, Martha Lair Smiser and George Smiser, lived across the Licking River and they made almost daily visits there where "Grandmother's sweet-cakes and goodies were eaten with relish." Aunt Lida Lair Martin told how frightened she was if her Grandfather Smiser spoke loud to them in his broken English. When they went on these visits, one of the slave women would accompany them to the river's edge, then calling: "Hello the boat. Hello the boat" and Grandma Patsy's servant would come from the other side in the boat and take them across. It was also delightful to sleep in Grandma Patsy's trundle bed and to feel the cozy warmth of the heavy curtains of the fourposter bed above.
While the Wesley Lairs were there and the children were small, a strange woman appeared at the door of the home. She was dressed in rags, her hair tousled, and she spoke "utterly and was not easily understood. The kindly John Wesley Lair learned enough from her to know that she was homeless, without relatives, and wanted a place to stay. Having a vacant cabin on the place, he gave it to her to use, gave her chickens, pigs, a cow, and Catherine Lair gave the woman enough to make her comfortable in the house. The woman tended her garden, milked her cow, seemed to get along well, but had nothing to say to any who came to her little house. As this was the time of witchcraft in the New England states, some people in the neighborhood and especially the slaves on the Lair places nearby, believed the woman to be a witch and began to tell all sorts of tales of looking in the window and seeing her milking dishrags. About that time, some cows in the neighborhood went dry. They said the witch had cast a spell over the cows and the witch was getting the milk from her dishrags. Then the horses often stalled in the road near the house of the witch. As the tales grew taller and the feeling against the woman grew greater, John Wesley Lair came to her defense, calming the fears of the slaves by placing his hand on the horses' neck and the superstitious thought he broke the spell. Soon the woman was left to her little home and garden without bodily harm having been done. When she died, she was buried in the garden at "Boscobel" and the marker stated simply: "The Wandering Woman."
This account as told by Paul S, Ward is as follows: "When the Proclamation of President Lincoln was published, John Lair, with the paper in his hand, went out to the farm bell which hung on the tall pole midway between the house and the Negro quarters, pulled three times as in calling the blacks out for orders. They assembled in front. Then, addressing them, he said, "Boys and girls, our President has issued a proclamation which declares you all to be free men and women. I know you can't know what that means. It means you can go anywhere to work and for anyone you like, that needs help. Miss Kittie and I have taught you all you know, gardening, farm work, spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, and you, Alex, carpentry and smithing. We have planned ahead for meat, vegetables and all food and warm, comfortable clothing and shoes, and shelter, everything you need. If you want to leave us, you can take clothes, furniture and chattels you using; they are yours. But if you decide to stay, we will go on planning the same as now. I will pay you the top pay for freemen."
When he finished, has eyes and those of his black folks were wet with tears. Only one mulatto girl left.
When the daughters of John Wesley Lair were grown and their many parties made the stone house crowded, a wing was added with a hall and parlor downstairs and bedrooms upstairs. It was from that house that the daughters married and went to homes of their own, and the farm was sold after the death of John Wesley Lair who died on his knees in prayer in 1869. His wife, Catherine Smiser Lair, died in Cynthiana.
On October 25, 1835 when John Wesley was 36, he married Catherine SMISER (40) , daughter of George SMISER (1772-1856) & Martha “Patsy” LAIR (13) (1780-1857), in Harrison, Kentucky. Born on November 10, 1811.
They had the following children:

63 i. Helen Henry (1838-)

ii. John Andrew. Born in August 1836.

John Andrew married Lida BICKHAM.

iii. Arabella. Born on March 11, 1841.

Arabella married John Burton MAUDE.

iv. Mary. Born on November 4, 1843.

Mary married Captain James GIVENS CSA.

v. Frances Hubbard.

Frances Hubbard married Rev. A.B. GRIFFITH.

vi. Lida.

Lida married Achilles MARTIN.
30. Jacob LAIR.
Jacob married HALL.
They had one child:

i. Johnnie.

Johnnie married TURNER.
31. Sarah Ellen LAIR.
Sarah Ellen married James W. BERRY, son of Bazzel BERRY (1765-1853) & Rhoda FLOWERS (1776-1855). Born on December 18, 1814. James W. died on May 11, 1891; he was 76.
They had the following children:

64 i. Rhoda Ellen (1840-)

65 ii. Sarah Frances

66 iii. Willie Mary (1854-)

Family of Margaret LAIR (9) & Jacob CUSTER

32. Catherine CUSTER.
Catherine married Charles CHRISMAN.
They had one child:

i. Kittie.

Kittie married Dr. GRAY.


Fifth Generation

_________________________________________



Family of Jonathan NEWMAN (10) & Hannah SPEARS

33. David NEWMAN.
David first married Esther Huston BOGGS.
They had the following children:

67 i. Robert Boggs

ii. Mary Elizabeth.


David second married Louisiana GRAY.

Family of John NEWMAN (12) & Polly MOORE

34. Catharine NEWMAN.
Catharine married WILLIAMS.
They had the following children:

i. Jared.

ii. Mary.

iii. John.

iv. Martha.

Martha married Dr. JENNINGS.


35. Walter NEWMAN.
Walter married Betty JONES.
They had the following children:

i. Joseph.

ii. Annie.

iii. Alice.

iv. Sallie.

v. Walter.

vi. John.

vii. Edward.


36. George NEWMAN.
George married Evalyn LINDSAY.
They had the following children:

i. Joseph.

ii. Sallie.

iii. Julia.

iv. Strother.

v. Walter.

vi. Sadie.

Family of Martha “Patsy” LAIR (13) & George SMISER

37. Samuel Merritt SMISER. Born on October 20, 1804. Samuel Merritt died on November 13, 1870; he was 66.
Samuel Merritt married Rebecca FRAZER. Born in June 1805. Rebecca died on February 2, 1873; she was 67.
They had one child:

i. George Henry. Born in December 1831. George Henry died on August 1, 1832.


38. John Milton SMISER. Born on February 10, 1807 in Harrison County, Kentucky. John Milton died in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri on April 10, 1894; he was 87.
On November 22, 1832 when John Milton was 25, he married Julia A. EDWARDS, daughter of Major John Henry EDWARDS Jr. (1773-1852) & Mary GARRARD (1776-~1818), in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Born on April 8, 1814 in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Julia A. died in Monroe County, Missouri.
They had the following children:

i. George Perrin. Born on September 26, 1833 in Cynthiana, Kentucky. George Perrin died in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri on July 18, 1857; he was 23.



68 ii. Arabella Perrin (1835-1863)

69 iii. John Edwards (1837-1865)

70 iv. James Samuel (1839-1925)

71 v. William Garrard (1845-1931)

72 vi. Henry Thomas Allen (1845-)

vii. Wesley Taylor. Born on January 10, 1848 in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri. Wesley Taylor died in Near Granville, Missouri on May 2, 1920; he was 72.

On March 6, 1879 when Wesley Taylor was 31, he married Lockie Virginia “Jennie” SAUNDERS, in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri.

viii. Milton Berry. Born on October 9, 1857 in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri. Milton Berry died in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri on January 1, 1902; he was 44.

ix. Llewellyn Davis. Born on December 4, 1860 in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri. Llewellyn Davis died in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri on May 16, 1939; he was 78.

On October 22, 1891 when Llewellyn Davis was 30, he married Linnie ARNOLD.


39. George SMISER. Born on May 17, 1809. George died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on October 22, 1875; he was 66.
George first married Mary ALLEN. Born on November 27, 1811. Mary died on February 26, 1833; she was 21.
They had the following children:

i. John M. Born in October 1830. John M. died on March 11, 1833; he was 2.

ii. Mary. Born on September 13, 1831.

iii. George W. Born on February 15, 1833.


George second married Margaret COLLIER.
George third married Martha WILSON. Martha died on November 13, 1889.
40. Catherine SMISER. Born on November 10, 1811.
On October 25, 1835 when Catherine was 23, she married John Wesley LAIR (29) , son of John LAIR (8) (1762-1827) & Sarah CUSTER (1766-1847), in Harrison, Kentucky. Born in 1799 in Harrison, Kentucky. John Wesley died in 1867; he was 68.
Notes on John Wesley Lair: [1]

John Wesley Lair, the seventh child of John and Sallie Custer Lair, married Catherine Smiser, the daughter of his first cousin. John Wesley's father, John Lair, was a brother of Andrew, the grandfather of Catherine Smiser. Her mother, Martha Lair, daughter of Andrew, had married George Smiser.


John Wesley Lair lived with his parents at "Boscobel" and continued to live there after his marriage to his cousin. Six children were born to this union:
John Andrew Lair married Lida Bickham. He became a surgeon of note and served in the Northern Army with distinction;

Helen Henry Lair married the Hon. A.H. Ward, famous lawyer who also served in the Reconstruction Congress;

Arabella Lair married John Burton Maude of St. Louis;

Mary Lair married Captain James M. Givens, Confederate officer;

Frances Hubbard Lair married Rev. A. B. Griffith of Ohio;

Lida Lair married Achilles Martin.



These children of John Wesley Lair and Catherine Smiser Lair lived in "Boscobel" until the close of the War Between the States and the death of their father, John Wesley Lair. Their childhood there as told me by my mother, Helen Lair Ward, was delightful. A small school for the many Lair children in the neighborhood was conducted on the Charles Lair farm and the little Lairs would be accompanied through the woods by one of the slave women, the school being a great treat. Their mother's parents, Martha Lair Smiser and George Smiser, lived across the Licking River and they made almost daily visits there where "Grandmother's sweet-cakes and goodies were eaten with relish." Aunt Lida Lair Martin told how frightened she was if her Grandfather Smiser spoke loud to them in his broken English. When they went on these visits, one of the slave women would accompany them to the river's edge, then calling: "Hello the boat. Hello the boat" and Grandma Patsy's servant would come from the other side in the boat and take them across. It was also delightful to sleep in Grandma Patsy's trundle bed and to feel the cozy warmth of the heavy curtains of the fourposter bed above.
While the Wesley Lairs were there and the children were small, a strange woman appeared at the door of the home. She was dressed in rags, her hair tousled, and she spoke "utterly and was not easily understood. The kindly John Wesley Lair learned enough from her to know that she was homeless, without relatives, and wanted a place to stay. Having a vacant cabin on the place, he gave it to her to use, gave her chickens, pigs, a cow, and Catherine Lair gave the woman enough to make her comfortable in the house. The woman tended her garden, milked her cow, seemed to get along well, but had nothing to say to any who came to her little house. As this was the time of witchcraft in the New England states, some people in the neighborhood and especially the slaves on the Lair places nearby, believed the woman to be a witch and began to tell all sorts of tales of looking in the window and seeing her milking dishrags. About that time, some cows in the neighborhood went dry. They said the witch had cast a spell over the cows and the witch was getting the milk from her dishrags. Then the horses often stalled in the road near the house of the witch. As the tales grew taller and the feeling against the woman grew greater, John Wesley Lair came to her defense, calming the fears of the slaves by placing his hand on the horses' neck and the superstitious thought he broke the spell. Soon the woman was left to her little home and garden without bodily harm having been done. When she died, she was buried in the garden at "Boscobel" and the marker stated simply: "The Wandering Woman."
This account as told by Paul S, Ward is as follows: "When the Proclamation of President Lincoln was published, John Lair, with the paper in his hand, went out to the farm bell which hung on the tall pole midway between the house and the Negro quarters, pulled three times as in calling the blacks out for orders. They assembled in front. Then, addressing them, he said, "Boys and girls, our President has issued a proclamation which declares you all to be free men and women. I know you can't know what that means. It means you can go anywhere to work and for anyone you like, that needs help. Miss Kittie and I have taught you all you know, gardening, farm work, spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, and you, Alex, carpentry and smithing. We have planned ahead for meat, vegetables and all food and warm, comfortable clothing and shoes, and shelter, everything you need. If you want to leave us, you can take clothes, furniture and chattels you using; they are yours. But if you decide to stay, we will go on planning the same as now. I will pay you the top pay for freemen."
When he finished, has eyes and those of his black folks were wet with tears. Only one mulatto girl left.
When the daughters of John Wesley Lair were grown and their many parties made the stone house crowded, a wing was added with a hall and parlor downstairs and bedrooms upstairs. It was from that house that the daughters married and went to homes of their own, and the farm was sold after the death of John Wesley Lair who died on his knees in prayer in 1869. His wife, Catherine Smiser Lair, died in Cynthiana.
They had the following children:

63 i. Helen Henry (1838-)

ii. John Andrew. Born in August 1836.

John Andrew married Lida BICKHAM.

iii. Arabella. Born on March 11, 1841.

Arabella married John Burton MAUDE.

iv. Mary. Born on November 4, 1843.

Mary married Captain James GIVENS CSA.

v. Frances Hubbard.

Frances Hubbard married Rev. A.B. GRIFFITH.

vi. Lida.

Lida married Achilles MARTIN.
41. Darius SMISER. Born on July 4, 1814. Darius died in 1909; he was 94.
On May 15, 1837 when Darius was 22, he first married Louisa SMITH.
They had the following children:

73 i. John Harmon (1837-1902)

ii. James William. Born in 1842.

In 1880 when James William was 38, he married Fannie FISHER.
In 1843 when Darius was 28, he second married Sarah Jane HOWE.

Family of William LAIR (15) & Mary GRAHAM

42. Thomas P. LAIR. Born in 1805. Thomas P. died in 1885; he was 80.
In 1830 when Thomas P. was 25, he married Catherine “Kitty” ANDERSON, daughter of William ANDERSON (1753-1830) & Elizabeth MILLER.
They had the following children:

i. William A. Born in 1831. William A. died in 1836; he was 5.

ii. Elizabeth Ann. Born in 1833.

In 1852 when Elizabeth Ann was 19, she married William RAWLINGS.

iii. Sarah E. Born in 1838. Sarah E. died in 1901; she was 63.

Sarah E. married B.T. HATFIELD.

iv. James H. Born in 1839. James H. died in 1856; he was 17.

v. Emily G. Born in 1841. Emily G. died in 1869; she was 28.

In 1860 when Emily G. was 19, she married Joseph MONROE.

vi. Catherine. Born in 1845. Catherine died in 1856; she was 11.

vii. Almira Y.

Almira Y. married Reuben LONG.

viii. Martha E.

Martha E. married LONG.



74 ix. Margaret R. (1850-)

Family of Mary LAIR (19) & William POPE

43. Helena POPE. Born in 1808. Helena died in 1891; she was 83.
In 1824 when Helena was 16, she first married William FAULKNER.
They had one child:

i. Mary Elizabeth. Born in 1825.



Mary Elizabeth married William HUFFMAN.
In 1829 when Helena was 21, she second married John Miller ANDERSON, son of William ANDERSON (1753-1830) & Elizabeth MILLER. Born in 1795. John Miller died in 1866; he was 71.
From “This Old House” by Kathryn Wilson, “H. Tod Smiser House:”
This old house stands opposite the First Methodist Church and at the corner of Pike and Church Streets. The old place distinguished itself during the Civil War by housing one of the famed generals of the Confederacy. Yes, Gen. John Hunt Morgan slept here.
The families who have occupied the house come in this succession: the William Huddlesons, the John Miller Andersons, the Jacob F. Millers, the Gustavus Magees, the William Lairs, the James Curles, the Dr. John Harmon Smisers, the Dr. Tod Smisers and the Glassel Butlers.
The one-story brick section in the rear was built long before the two-story frame front section, and evidently by William Huddleson in the early 1800's. After the death of Huddleson, William Lowry, guardian of Huddleson's infant heirs, authorized Judge James Curry to sell it at the Court House door. At this sale in September of 1833 it was bought by John Miller Anderson.
Though he had possession for only a year, the Andersons most certainly occupied it during that time, for Miss Analena Anderson says she has heard her father, Thomas W. Anderson, son of John Miller, tell about moving in 1834 from there to the house where the City Hall now stands. He said he was such a small boy that his little red chair which he was commissioned to carry to the new house, seemed a very heavy load.
A year later in September, 1934, Jacob F. Miller came into possession of the house and evidently built the front part somewhere around that date, for the next deed mentions the place as the two-story frame house.
The next owner was Gustavus Magee. We have no information of any of the incidents of his occupancy. Gus Magee sold the place to William Lair for $1,700 in 1856, just 100 years ago.
William Lair is said by several of his relatives here to have been the one-armed Lair. At any rate the William Lairs lived in the old house for some years. They had only one daughter, Emma Alice. After they died, Emma Alice boarded in town and went to school for a while and loved the social life of early Cynthiana. But by the time she was twenty she was in such bad health that she went to live at "The Cedars," on the Old Lair Pike with her uncle, John Lair. Here she was confined to her bed for several years, and it is said that as she lay there she often looked at the burial vault key which hung near the mantel and said, "Please don't bury me in that vault." But sad to say she died in her early twenties and was buried in the vault. Mrs. Alice Lair was named for Emma Alice, and Miss Varnon Northcutt is in possession of a beautiful diamond which once belonged to the same Emma Alice.
After the Lairs moved out, the old frame house was soon occupied by the James Curles. Here their second child and only daughter was born. She was named Annie Morgan to please their star boarder at the time-Gen. John Hunt Morgan.
Gen. Morgan is thought to have occupied the upstairs east bed room. And there it was no doubt, that he left his watch when he was surprised by a message that fresh Union troops were approaching town. This was probably the Sun(lay morning, June 12, 1864 (the day after the Confederate victory in the Second Battle of Cynthiana), when the Union Gen. Burbridge approached in the early hours from the Millersburg Pike and recaptured Cynthiana. At any rate Gen. Morgan rushed off without his gold watch, never to return. The watch, however, was sent to him later.
It was probably during the First Battle of Cynthiana, that a minnie ball tore through the window of this same room and landed on the Curles' best feather bed. In the middle of this same feather bed, lay baby George Ashbrook, a few months old. His mother, Mrs. Sam Ashbrook had brought him to call on her good friends the Curles, then had promptly forgotten him and run to the basement with the others when the shots began to whiz around the house. Finally somebody in the safety of the basement happened to think of baby George and ran upstairs just in time to jerk him from the burning mattress and put out the fire.
The Curles moved from this old house to Robinson Station. Their other children were Will, Pierre and Jim.
Dr. John Harmon Smiser then bought the house from the Emma Alice Lair estate around 1870. He married Mary Ewalt and here they reared their children. While studying medicine in St. Louis, John Harmon Smiser had become such an admirer of one of his professors, Dr. Tod Helman, that he named his second son, Tod, after him. Their other children were Hunt, Mary, Louise and Earl.
Tod Smiser grew up and went to study medicine in New York City. Here he studied under the same illustrious Dr. Tod Helman. Dr. Tod Smiser married Kate Whaley and here at the old house they reared their children, Louise and Harmon Tod. Louise married Glassel Butler from Culpepper County, Va., and they continue to make their home with Mrs. Kate Smiser in the old place after nearly 90 years of Smiser ownership. Harmon Tod studied medicine at the University of Louisville. married Katherine Wiglesworth arid they built their present home on the Leesburg Pike.
The bedroom pictured here is the one where Gen. Morgan slept and also where baby George Ashbrook slept on the burning bed. Above the mantel in the bedroom across the hall is a portrait of Dorcas Saunders, the step-great-grandmother of Britain's Hon. Harold MacMillan. Of course Dorcas Saunders' place over this mantel is due to the fact that she is also the great-great-grandmother of Mrs. Glassel Butler (Louise Smiser) one of the present mistresses of this old house.
A significant piece of furniture in the hallway picture, is the carved oak bench, the carving having been done by the late Louise Smiser, Mrs. Butler's aunt for whom she was named. This same Louise Smiser also did some of the carving on the interior woodwork of the Episcopal Church here.
An outstanding feature of this old place is the ancient poplar tree seen in the picture. It was old when Charles Rieckel, who died some years ago at the age of 108, walked here from Paris in 1856 and rested under its branches. He said it was the first thing he saw of Cynthiana. The old tree stood there in all its majesty and watched as the Methodists built their first church, of red brick, across the street. This was in 1820. The old tree saw the church burn down in 1844 and watched the building of a smaller edifice in 1845, saw it torn down in 1870, then rebuilt, and the present building erected in 1905.
The famous old tree saw a great deal of both the first Battle of Cynthiana in July, 1862, and the second Battle of Cynthiana in June of 1864, which lasted about five hours, during which time the entire business section of town was burned. The same old tree no -doubt sheltered Indians and the earliest pioneers. In fact, if trees could talk, a historian could sit under the branches of this old tree and write as interesting a history of Cynthiana as any which has ever been written.
They had the following children:

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